Working on a .223 Target load, powder recommendations...


January 1, 2012, 10:04 PM
I'm new to reloading and will be loading .223 Remington for my Savage Model 10. It really likes Hornady 68 Grain BTHP and will be reloading Hornady brass with those bullets. I still don't know what powder or primers to use and need some recommendations. The closer I can get to Hornady factory loads the better, so keep that in mind.

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January 1, 2012, 11:01 PM
I just got into reloading myself. So new that I just finished my first set of 100 .223 about an hour ago. The best piece of advice I received from the guys here was to get a reloading manual & read it. Then read it again. It was very helpful & made it very simple. I would suggest starting there. Get a manual & read it. I studied that book for three days before even getting near my press.

Also, I had a bunch of mixed head stamped brass & I noticed that the primer pockets in the Hornady brass was smaller than the others. I'm loading Rem brass with 55gr FMJ BT over 22.5g of H322 with CCI 400 primers (right out of my book). My first time reloading & I pick the worst "Newbie" power!! I can't get consistent throws of powder with my Uni Flow with this powder. I've had to weigh every round. I've found out that "Stick" powders like H322, don't meter well. Trial & error.

January 1, 2012, 11:24 PM
There is really only one way and that is to try different bullet/powder combos and see what works best in your rifle. What works in mine may not work well in yours. That said, with a heavy bullet like the 68gr I would start with Varget or Tac. Primers = Small Rifle. Remember, always start low and work up.

January 1, 2012, 11:52 PM
I like Accurate 2230, but like Steve said you'll have to see what works best in your gun.

January 1, 2012, 11:59 PM
Load data will always tell you what primers they used, and what type to use. For a .223 use any small rifle primer. The Lyman #49 manual includes comments of what powder they think is the "potentially most accurate" load for each bullet type. They suggest Varget for that bullet. Their section on powders is also helpful. What matters most is what is accurate in your rifle, and only you can figure that you. Stick powders may not meter well, but many of the powders with good reputations for accuracy are stick powders. H322, H335, TAC, Varget, BL(C)-2 A2230, IMR 4895, A2015, A2460 IMR 4064, IMR 4320, N140, RX15 and others will all work. All of the major powder manufacturers list load data on their websites. If you are loading a 68gr bullet, you can use load data for a 69gr.

This link will cover Hodgdon, IMR and Winchester



January 2, 2012, 12:44 AM
My instinctive response was: Try H4895 or Tac, and Rem 7 1/2 primers.

My 1-9 twist .223 really like 55 grain Nolser Ballistic Tips over Benchmark, so if you're in the mood to try a new bullet I would go that route.

January 2, 2012, 07:11 AM
I have always had great luck with Varget. Hard to meter accurately, however, you would have a hard time overcharging a case with it. Good stuff.

Friendly, Don't Fire!
January 2, 2012, 07:23 AM

January 2, 2012, 07:25 AM
I like 4198 w/69gr HPBT in the AR <MOA also had good luck with H335.

Half the fun is trying different loads. Good luck!

January 2, 2012, 07:57 AM
I have several 223/5.56 firearms. I have had great luck using Tac, Reloader 10X, IMR 4320, and AA2015. The majority has been AA2015 and Tac as I purchased a couple large cans of each last year. I mostly use 55 GR FMJ for blasting ammo or SP for hunting in the same weight. I tried some SS109 bullets and they were not as accurate in my Mini 14's or Handi Rifle. The Savage and AR's however liked them the best. I have never used any heavier bullets than the SS109 so I can be no more help to you. I try to pick a middle of the road load as I have found max velocity and low case fill are not always best choices. As stated try all options and pick your best performer in your rifle/rifles.

January 2, 2012, 08:04 AM
My 10fp was very fond of 69gr match and 26.0 gr of Varget. I think that load was in my Lyman manual. Amazingly accurate.

January 2, 2012, 08:27 AM
If you use Varget, you can't be put off by complete filling of the case and the resulting compressed loads. Also, it tends to be difficult to meter.

January 2, 2012, 10:41 AM
I've had very good results with Varget (as others have). I have also bought a pound of IMR 8208 XBR as some people have had pretty good success with it. I've not loaded anything with it yet, but hopefully will do that in the next couple of weeks.

January 2, 2012, 11:45 AM
H335 and A2230.
I never saw much reason to experiment beyond those.

January 2, 2012, 11:56 AM
I'd like to know what your barrel twist and chamber are but I shoot service rifle with a 1x7 twist Wylde Chamber. A lot of guys on the line have a similar set up and shoot 69, 77, and 80 grain rounds with Win 748, RL15 and Varget using a CCI or Rem 7 1/2 primer.

If you have a 1x9 twist of faster try the Sierre 52gr match rounds. My experience is with service rifle and I believe the Bench Rest guys have different preferences.

January 2, 2012, 12:02 PM
Either of the 4895's, or RL15. I've never been able to get Varget to work for me, even when the same rifle shoots 4064 well.


January 2, 2012, 12:10 PM
When I first read the question, my reponses were "Alliant RELODER 15 and Hodgdon Varget". If you can't find one or the other of those, and your rifle won't print reasonable groups with 68-69gr bullets with one of them, I don't know what else to tell.

My one suggestion, and I hate to go counter to Lovesbeer's notes, because I agree otherwise, is to avoid 748 with heavy .223 bullets. Pierced primers result on warm ways with safe loads. Actually, I was piercing primers with 748 and 69gr bullets with loads that were only running 2600-2700 fps from my 20" AR. For reference, using Varget or RL 15 I can hit 2800 with ease with the same bullet and not burn my firing pin and bolt face. 748 is just too spooky on hot days for my tastes.

Steve in PA
January 2, 2012, 07:20 PM
I've only used two powder for my .223 so far, H335 and Varget. I've had excellent results with both.

January 3, 2012, 10:06 PM
15 gr blue dot and 35 gr Vmax. ~ 3500 fps ~ 35,000 psi

Ballistics of a ping pong ball, but great out to 180 yards. Shoot the ground squirrel in the head.

Tiniest groups I will ever get at 100 yards.

January 3, 2012, 10:29 PM
For the application you are using it for Varget is the way to go.

Don't get too wrapped up in using the same components that the factory ammo used. I'd be willing to bet almost any reloads you make will shoot just as well as most factory ammo.....probably better.

January 4, 2012, 01:23 AM
Sorry I haven't loaded anything heavier than a 60gr bullet in the .223 so I can't speak about a 68gr bullet.

When I bought a bolt action rifle I looked at the new Lyman manual for a good load. They listed a "potentially most accurate load" with a 55gr bullet and 25.0gr of Varget. That charge weight is the starting weight so you won't get top velocity but it is extremely accurate. I was able to shoot a .314" group @100 yards and just over 1" @200 yards with that load. (55gr Sierra BTHP #1390)

For hunting I increased the charge weight to 26.0gr and that addition effected the accuracy very little. ( .420" @100 yards)

January 4, 2012, 08:49 AM
I'm still in the process of testing, but so far Varget has worked nicely in my 20" 1:8 AR with 69gr SMK. H335 works well with 55gr in mine.

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